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History & Formation of the Leicester Lohana Mahajan
Whether residing in India or other countries, there is always a desire amongst Lohanas to congregate and maintain our culture, religion and identity.
The history of Lohana Mahajan in Leicester originates back in 1969 when there were about 50 Lohana families that had settled in Leicester. An ad-hoc committee of 4-5 members were inspired to group. As an initial task they collected the names and addresses of all Lohana families residing in Leicester. A first General Meeting was called on 19th February 1970 at the St. Mark’s Church and Shree Lohana Mahajan Leicester was formally established. Office bearers and a working committee were elected. Leicester is thought to be the pioneer in the UK to establish a Lohana Mahajan and thereafter other cities and towns followed.
Later, Lohana Community of United Kingdom (LCUK), as a parent body, was established in 1978, to which all the other UK Lohana Mahajans are now affiliated.
In 1984, Leicester Lohana Mahajan was granted Charitable Trust Status, known as ‘The Leicester Lohana Mahajan Trust’.
From outset the Leicester Mahajan had made it a priority to acquire a suitable building to accommodate functions. The formal opening ceremony of the building by His Divine Holiness Mahamandleshvar Swami Shri Satyamitranand Giriji Maharaj on behalf of the Gheewala family was done on 30 August 1987. The building henceforth became known as
‘Smt. Nitiben Maheshbhai Gheewala Lohana Centre’.
The Centre was in in need of renovation works, and alterations to suit our requirements. A major project was undertaken to convert part of the ground floor into Shree Ram Mandir. This milestone was achieved on 31st July 1992, when various Murti Prathista ceremonies were conducted over a period of three days.
Since then we have been blessed with relative prosperity and have managed to clear our debts. The centre, nevertheless, relies on donations & sponsorships from the community. After this project, the main dinning hall, which was a prefabricated building, was demolished and replaced by a modern brick building. The main (Tilda) hall on the first floor has been renovated with a purpose built stage with modern lighting and sound system. (See Facilities Page)
The next project in the pipeline is to renovate the sports hall. Meanwhile, the Mahajan has recently acquired a terraced property within close vicinity of our Centre, which provides accommodation for one of the Mandir’s Maharaj.
Initially when the Mahajan was established in 1969, outside venues were hired to arrange community functions. With the arrival of more community members in 1972 larger functions like Navratri and Diwalli celebrations were held.
In 1984 Chopda Poojan was arranged for the first time to accommodate our business community and this has continued annually. Such programmes and other cultural and educational activities are now held regularly at our Centre. Other notable programmes include, Jalaram Prashadi held on first Sunday of each month. Initiated in 1992, it has continued to gain popularity not only in this country but also overseas. There is always a long waiting list of sponsors.
Maintaining records of our community members residing in Leicestershire is essential. A directory is therefore prepared and published at regular intervals; the 7th edition was published in 2009. Bhajan books have also been published to mark the 10th and 15th anniversaries of the Shree Ram Mandir opening.
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